Supervisors Press Forward On Radio Project

By CHARLIE COMFORT

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Mahaska County Supervisors are pressing forward as they look to finish a radio system project that has been underway for over two years now. The project would see to completion a new 911 communications system for Mahaska County first responders.

At the Nov. 16 meeting of the Supervisors, Chairman Mark Groenendyk presented the board with a request to extend the current contract with Ray Freeman Communications Consulting. Freeman is the official project consultant as it gets underway.

Groenendyk reported that the current contract with Freeman expired in October, but that work on the project had not advanced as far as they would have preferred due to unforeseen issues in obtaining a tower site in the Oskaloosa area for the project.
“They’ve had difficulty finding a site and actually, they’re getting closer,” Groenendyk said at the meeting.

Part of the issue has been ensuring that a tower is not in the flight path of the new regional airport and that there are no interference issues in frequencies. There are other requirements that the tower must meet, such as being a certain distance away from historical structures, further complicating the acquisition of a tower site around Oskaloosa.

“There’s a lot more that goes into this than throwing up a tower here and a tower there,” Groenendyk said.

Supervisor Steve Wanders echoed Groenendyk’s position that the project has gone on longer than planned, with Wanders saying he expected that the project would have been completed by now. Newly sworn-in Supervisor Chuck Webb agreed.

“There’s a lot of people in the County that are anxious to get it going,” he said.
According to Groenendyk, he believes that a third site could soon be acquired on the County is looking at from the State. If that happens, bids will be sought for the construction of all three new towers for the project, with a possible late December or early January bid award date. Construction could begin in March 2021.

The Supervisors ultimately approved a five-month extension to the contract with Ray Freeman, at a monthly rate not to exceed $4,000.

In other action, the Supervisors:
• Approved a loan agreement relating to bonds for the radio project. The agreement is the final step in issuing bonds for the project.
• Tabled action on a request to vacate an alley in Evans until Supervisors can review the matter. Supervisors Wanders and Webb said they would review the situation with Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem.
• Tabled action on the appointment of members to the Mahaska County Solid Waste Commission. Groenendyk said this action was necessary as the Commission is currently reworking its’ 28E agreement, and changes to the 28E could result in changes to the number of members the County appoints to the Commission.

The next regular meeting of the Mahaska County Supervisors will be held on Dec. 7, at 8 a.m., in the Supervisors Board Room.

Posted by on Nov 17 2020. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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